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Table 5 Comparison of raceways and photobioreactors (Bahadar and Bilal Khan 2013; Dillschneider and Posten 2013; Lyon et al. 2015; Richardson et al. 2012)

From: Integration of biology, ecology and engineering for sustainable algal-based biofuel and bioproduct biorefinery

Reactor type Advantages Disadvantages
Raceway Lower capital cost
Lower annual cost
Risk of contamination
Lower productivity
Photobioreactors: tubular, helical, tubularvertical, flat panel, cuboidal, stirred tank, air lift, bubble column tubular Effective light use
Little risk of contamination
More controlled environment
Higher productivity and cell densities
High gas transfer coefficients
Easy CO2 supply
Lower land use
Lower water loss
Estimated 2.6 times the capital cost of Raceway ponds
Estimated 1.5 times the annual operating cost
Risk of oxygen oversaturation
Difficult to scale up
Increased shear stress by pumps